ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 15, 2023) – The long and money-filled week of sprint car racing in Ohio over five consecutive nights was challenging as well as rewarding for all the drivers and teams who have raced, some more than others of course – the winners. The final show of the week was set to take place on Saturday night with one of the long standing Crown Jewel events on the sprint car racing schedule – the 40th Annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway. The first four nights of racing in the Buckeye State were won by: Kyle Larson (Tuesday – The Brad Doty Classic at Attica); Brad Sweet – Group A and Rico Abreu – Group B (Wednesday – The Eldora Million Preliminary Night Twin 25s at Eldora); Logan Schuchart (Thursday – The Eldora Million at Eldora); and, Carson Macedo (Friday – Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora). Every driver throughout the pit area though wanted to add their name to the prestigious list of winners of the King’s Royal. They wanted to wear the crown and have their name on all future winner’s trophies. They also wanted the king’s ransom of $175,000 that goes to the winner of the race. If a driver has already won the race, they wanted their name on the trophy again. It’s not greed, it is the competitive nature of these speed athletes. For those drivers that have not climbed onto the throne, their competitive juices were flowing swiftly as they wanted to break through and ultimately end up in victory lane at Eldora Speedway. But, the 61 competitive 410 sprint car teams situated throughout the infield pit area ready to put on a speed show at Eldora as they chased royalty would have to wait as Mother Nature moved into the area and dropped her tears of precipitation to delay the start.
The track crew at Eldora Speedway did a tremendous job to salvage the surface as there was nothing they could do about the rain that moved into the area. After hot laps, it was time to start the program. Unlike the traditional WoO format where the qualifying field is split if there is greater than 38 entries, the established King’s Royal format time trials every driver as part of one unified group with two drivers out on the track at the same time. Earlier in the evening each driver, or a representative from the team, pulled a numbered pill out of the circular bingo ball cage to determine where they would go out for their two laps in Low-E Insulation Qualifying. A representative for the JJR #41 team pulled a numbered ball that would position Carson Macedo as the 34th driver out on the track for his speed tested laps aboard the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Tarlton and Son/Indy Performance Composites (IPC) #41 Maxim. Because he won the Knight Before the Kings Royal feature he had the unique opportunity to choose when he wanted to go out for his time trial laps. He showed speed in hot laps and was hoping to add to it when he was racing against the clock officially. Carson climbed into his Fibreworks Composites carbon fiber seat as he securely strapped himself into his Crow Enterprizes safety belts for the ride. He pulled on his K1 Race Gear gloves and proceeded to head to the staging area to wait for his turn. When that time came though he passed and waited a bit. When Brock Zearfoss and Giovanni Scelzi completed their laps, Carson pushed off in the Albaugh #41 as the 51st car out along with Rico Abreu in his #24 entry. When the Lemoore, California speedster exited turn four he had built up his speed in an attempt to outrun the second hand of the stopwatch. When he raced under the waving green flag he was focused on hitting his marks and turning in a smooth, and fast, lap. He bravely kept his right foot planted to the floor to carry his speed as he turned left through the turns. When he stopped the clock on lap one his work was recorded in 12.926 seconds. Carson was not done working yet as he had another lap to go. The clock did not stop ticking and neither did the driver. His elbows were up as he turned in another solid lap around Eldora’s half-mile oval, this time clocking in at 12.949 seconds. The quicker of his two rides around Eldora Speedway ended the night seventh quick overall out of 61 cars that took time trials. Justin Peck blasted the fastest lap of the night coming home in 12.827 seconds after going out 21st in the time trial order.
Each of the drivers would be slotted into a starting spot in one of the six 10-lap heat races based on their quickest time trial lap. In this event format though the better times put the quickest drivers back in the pack in the heat races. Following the Kings Royal format, the six fastest guys would invert and start from the outside of row three in each of their heat races with the next six fastest guys lining up beside them on the inside of row three. That meant Carson Macedo would get started in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41 from the fifth starting position in the first heat race with quick timer Justin Peck to his outside. With only the top three finishers transferring, they both had their work cut out for them as the track was heavy and narrow. Plus, Kerry Madsen and Shane Stewart were on the front row with Michael “Buddy” Kofoid and C.J. Leary in row two. Behind Macedo and Peck in row three was Noah Gass, Zeb Wise, Harli White, Bill Rose and Bradley Ashford.
Only the top three finishers from each heat race would transfer to the Kings Royal feature with the winners starting in positions 1 thru 6, the runner-up finishers starting in positions 7 thru 12, and the third place finishers starting in positions 13 thru 18. Those that finished in fourth on back would be relegated to the C-Main or the B-Main based on where they finished where they would have to race their way into the big event.
The stage was set and the racers were ready to blow the curtains wide open with their colorful hotrods in an entertaining fashion as they competed. The competitors in the first heat race were side-by-side when they came off turn four and received the go ahead to race from the flagman. The field was using up the whole available width of the frontstretch as they positioned their advancement strategy through the first set of turns. Like a rabbit Madsen was the first driver out of turn two with Stewart and Peck giving chase. Carson was in control of the fifth position in the running order behind Kofoid but was looking for more.
By the second lap the field of cars started to fan out with Madsen, Stewart and Peck holding down the coveted top three positions with 8 laps remaining. Carson was chasing Kofoid as they had made their way by C.J. Leary. They were both fast, but so was everyone else. They were closing in on Justin Peck tough. There were very limited passing lanes, so they could only use their speed to, well, go fast. Passing was at a premium.
In a blink of an eye, the checkered flag was out and Kerry Madsen was the first to reach the finish line followed by Shane Stewart and Michael “Buddy” Kofoid. Justin Peck came home fourth followed by Carson Macedo to round out the top five with C.J. Leary finishing sixth.
Carson was pushed into the 15-lap Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown (LCS) where he would get started from the pole position as a result of another opportunity. In this format, the two fastest drivers – Justin Peck and Rico Abreu – that don’t transfer through their heat races are locked into row ten of the feature by virtue of their time. Peck’s advancement allowed Carson to start from the pole position in the LCS, which was important because it was loaded with fast cars and talent. The top 13 drivers in time trials did not qualifying through their heat races. Names like Macedo, Sweet, Brown, Schuchart, Bayston, Scelzi, Shaffer and Pittman just to name a few were all gunning for the final four transfer spots out of the LCS.
Carson Macedo paced beside Sye Lynch in the front row with McKenna Haase and Giovanni Scelzi in row two, Brad Sweet and Sam Hafertepe, Jr. in row three, C.J. Leary and Lachlan McHugh in row four, Logan Schuchart and Tim Shaffer in row five, and Brian Brown and Daryn Pittman in row six. There were six more rows of talented who had an even tougher road to hoe. When they went green, the initial start was paused when Cody Bova spun down the frontstretch at the start. Carson would get them back up to speed driving the Border International/T-FAB Metal Fabrication/Walker Performance Filtration #41 into the lead over Lynch, Scelzi and Hafertepe, Jr.
On lap 4, the second caution came out for Leary as he slowed on the track. Carson was in the top spot with 11 laps to go with Sye Lynch showing off his speed in the #42. When they got up to speed, Carson Macedo had vapor trails coming off the sideboards of his Vortex Racing Products wing. The entire field was fast around this surface filled with moisture. That speed had an impact on lap 10 when the red flag flew for Brock Zearfoss who flipped hard in turn one in the Moose’s LZ Bar and Grill #3z. He was ok.
When the engines re-fired, they went back to green and made quick work of the last 2.5 miles, or 5 laps that remained in the race. Carson secured the LCS victory aboard the Albaugh #41 and was followed across the finish line by Giovanni Scelzi, Sye Lynch and Sam Hafertepe, Jr. who locked down the final transfer position into the Kings Royal with a lot of big names sent back to the trailer.
The Kings Royal race format is tough to say the least. Just making it into the feature is a huge accomplishment in and of itself, but that is not fulfilling or satisfying for these hyper competitive, high speed athletes. They simply want to position themselves to win the race. That feat was going to be more challenging for some drivers starting closer to the back than it was for others who would get rolling from the front of the pack for the 40-lap 40th Annual Kings Royal $175,000-to-win feature finale – at least on paper, but that’s exactly why they race ‘em. Nonetheless, it was time for some of the best on the business to race for the money at Eldora Speedway – World of Outlaws style!
Carson Macedo climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing hotrod and secured his Crow Enterprizes safety belts with confidence. He would get the Albaugh – Your Alternative/Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Tarlton and Son #41 started from the 21st starting position situated way back in row 11. He was ready to go though. Philip, Clyde and Nathan had the Albaugh #41 ready to rock and roll. It was now time to execute the business plan.
Donny Schatz and Parker Price-Miller were in row one and would lead the field to the green. The front row starters were followed by Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel. This is a big event and the drivers were ready to put on a show. When the initial green flag waved it was Schatz to the lead followed by Price-Miller and David Gravel. But after they completed the first lap the red flag flew for Justin Peck and Landon Myers who both bicycled and flipped in turn two in separate incidents.
Because of the race conditions the officials made the decision to scrap the double file restarts and stick with single file for safety reasons. Donny Schatz would bring the field back up to speed with Carson Macedo picking up five spots early and going from the 15th position. It was all Schatz in the Carquest #15 at the front with Gravel pressuring Price-Miller for the runner-up position. Carson picked up another spot and was now running in 14th place.
On lap 3, another red flag was displayed this time for Brady Bacon who flipped hard after tripping on the tricky cushion in turn two. It was Schatz, Price-Miller, Gravel, Haudenschild, and Kasey Kahne making up the top five. Carson was now running in the 12th position behind Shane Stewart and looking to continue his march forward.
The engines roared again with Schatz in total control in the lead. David Gravel raced by Parker Price-Miller to take over second place on the restart. They were booking and completing laps until lap 11 when the yellow caution flag was waved as Giovanni Scelzi was sideways and headed pit side in his #18. The top five now was Schatz, Gravel, Price-Miller, Kahne and Haudenschild.
With 29 laps to go the field was back up to speed. Schatz was defending the lead against the hard-charging Gravel. The defending Kings Royal winner from 2022, Brent Marks was on the move in the M&M Painting #19 and passed Parker Price-Miller and was now running in the show position. They were still flying around Eldora Speedway giving the largest crowd in Kings Royal history the show and entertainment they paid for with their tickets when the planned competition yellow was displayed on lap 23.
The teams refueled their driver’s cars during the “Open Red” while also adding much needed tearoffs to their helmets. They were also scrapping off the accumulated mud on the cars as they were packed with mud clods. The air horns sounded as the “Open Red” period was coming to an end.
With 17 laps to go, Donny Schatz was still leading David Gravel, Brent Marks, Sheldon Haudenschild and Parker Price-Miller. Kyle Larson, who had started back in the 15th starting spot, had raced his way up to sixth and was looking to make some noise. Carson Macedo would get the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 started from the 12th position in the restart order behind Michael “Buddy” Kofoid. The green flag was back out with David Gravel giving it his all trying to move into the lead. But Schatz prevailed and kept the lead. But the yellow flag quickly came out for Shane Stewart and Rico Abreu who spun up across turn one after racing for the same real estate on entry to turn one. Shane Stewart’s night was over, but Rico Abreu rejoined the field as the last car on the lead lap.
Donny Schatz got them going again with David Gravel just trying everything in his arsenal to get by with Brent Marks running well in third ahead of Sheldon Haudenschild. Fifth running Parker Price-Miller was moving fast and ran hard into turn three. He got up over the building cushion and flipped hard to bring out the red flag to end his impressive run and night at the Kings Royal.
After struggling to get some green flag racing in after the competition yellow on lap 23, they tried again and this time Schatz darted off turn four and held off Gravel. Schatz started to use his sped to check out as Brent Marks moved by the Big Game Motorsports #2 into the runner-up position. The #19 of Brent Marks was fast, but so was the #15 of Donny Schatz. Carson continued his trek forward as he moved by Kasey Kahne into eighth place with 8 laps to go. Those laps flew by quickly on this lightning fast surface.
With fireworks filling the sky with color and pops of sound and flames billowing sending heat radiating, Donny Schatz raced to the victory over Brent Marks and David Gravel to collect his sixth Kings Royal crown. Sheldon Haudenschild raced home fourth with Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.
Donny Schatz cleared the scales and rolled his Carquest #15 out onto the track in front of Victory Lane with the 40th Royal Sovereign, Bobby Allen, waiting to bestow the king’s crown on the winner. After celebrating with his crew he climbed the wooden stairs with a smile from ear-to-ear. Donny Schatz was at the top royalty pyramid on this night at the 40th Annual Kings Royal with his name forever etched in the record books as King Donny XL to go along with his previous win in this prestigious race.
Carson Macedo came home with an eighth place finish in the Albaugh – Your Alternative #41. Throughout the race he showed speed and maturity as he navigated around Eldora and the multiple incidents. He gained 13 positions from his 21st starting position and earned his 41st Top 10 in the 45 races he has entered, which is an impressive 91.11% Top 10 success rate. Another good run for Macedo and the forty-one!
With the celebration going well into the evening, the haulers started their way back home in multiple directions as the World of Outlaws (WoO) tour teams set their navigation systems to take them East towards Pennsylvania where they will race on Wednesday night for the first time in a long time at BAPS Motor Speedway. If you cannot come out to the races, be sure to tune in to catch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
A Run for Royalty in the 40th Annual Kings Royal at Eldora Ends with an 8th Place Finish for Carson Macedo and the JJR #41 Team! Photo Credit: Trent Gower Photography
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To stay connected with Jason Johnson Racing (JJR), go to www.jasonjohnsonracing.com.
To stay up-to-date with Carson Macedo and his success journey on and off the track, as well as to purchase his gear and merchandise directly, visit www.carsonmacedoracing.com.